This site focuses on these questions

Sept 13: WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRD found in CT on Aug 28th! Read this fascinating story at Greg's site....


This Hurricane Irene blog was meant to be helpful for just ONE WEEK to provide REAL-TIME reporting of ALL Atlantic coast storm-birds DURING the "teeth" of the storm, but the storm's winds and flooding killed our electricity and this blog. Without electricity, water and internet for 102 hours prevented us reporting during the most exciting part of the hurricane and its birding aftermath.
Instead of trying to "catch-up" and reconstruct those 102 missing hours from the archived listserv reports, we will instead 1) summarize them, 2) learn what we can from this "experiment" in real-time-hurricane-bird-blogging, 3) request eBird data entry of all hurricane reports, and 4) get ready for the NEXT hurricane this year!

Therefore we will refocus on the latest current map of the NEXT hurricanes and their projected storm tracks.....
Tropical Storms and Hurricanes (and the wind speed probabilities map... Wind Speed Projections ) and prepare again to answer these questions....
What impacts will the next hurricane have on birds on the East Coast of the USA (plus the western Atlantic and maritime Canada)? And how will that be reflected on the twenty main internet bird lists covering that region?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Leach's Storm-petrels many miles inland

Here is just one example of the unusual situations created by Hurricane Irene.... a Leach's Storm-petrel fighting the wind over Bantam Lake, CT forty miles inland from the nearest salt water....

Leach's Storm-Petrel on Bantam Lake, CT August 28, 2011.  This photo thanks to Fran Zygmont 
Notice that this nice photograph captures so many of the field marks:  the long angled wings, the slightly forked tail, the feet not projecting beyond tail, the pale bar on the upper wing reaching the leading edge of the wing, and the somewhat divided white rump patch.

Remember that (unlike Wilson's Storm-petrels) this is a very wary open ocean bird which is often hard to attract close to a boat, even 100 miles out on the ocean, and yet here it is on an inland fresh water lake!

And here is a recent map of the Leach's Storm-petrel distribution from eBird....note the paucity of reports from Connecticut, prior to August 28th.....

Thanks to Fran Zygmont for this photograph of this oceanic species far from its normal ocean travels, and for entering this field report into eBird this week (which will soon be reflected as a new little pink rectangle in west central Connecticut)!

the NEXT hurricane(s)


Thomas Robben to ctbirds....       Sep 12

Did you think we were done with hurricanes for the year???

Thanks to all storm-birders for submitting your Irene-bird-reports to BOTH eBird AND your state ARC avian records committee. Thanks for the direct email discussions with most of you CT storm-birders this week.
If you have not done that dual data entry, please do it within the next week or so;  or contact me or Marshall Iliff for assistance doing it.

Our "one-week" hurricane blog (intended to do "real-time" Florida-to-Newfoundland bird reporting DURING the peak of the hurricane, by monitoring all those listservs) was, ironically, knocked down by the storm for 102 hours during the the "best" days of August 28- Sept 1 ....and we have decided NOT to do a detailed catch-up reconstruction of those 102 hours (partly because most of those reports have already "rolled-off" their state bird-listservs [such as CTBirds] into archives, or some into oblivion).

Instead we are....
1)  assembling SUMMARIES of the Hurricane Irene birds at the hurricane blog,

2)  highlighting some of the more interesting sightings, such as Fran Zygmont's INLAND Leach's Storm-Petrel photo...
Hurricane Irene 2011 (and its birds)

3)  learning what we can from this hurricane and this experimental blog, including the best safe LOCATIONS for watching the next storms (thanks to Nick Bonomo and many others),

4)  and looking toward the NEXT HURRICANE by studying this evolving hourly weather map every few days....
Post-Tropical Cyclone MARIA

Thank You and Good Birding,
Tom Robben
Hurricane Irene 2011 (and its birds)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Thomas Robben <>
Date: Sat, Sep 3, 2011 at 12:11 AM
Subject: Fwd: Hurricane Irene redux on eBird
Cc: Marshall Iliff <>, Thomas Robben <>

We have just witnessed an incredible hurricane, with historic bird consequences.  We need everybody's help to capture their observations into eBird, as Marshall Iliff describes below....
There is a lot to be learned from a panoramic Florida-to-Maine-&-the-Maritmes view of what this hurricane did, so please enter your field observations into eBird as soon as possible, within a week or so.
(And additionally do not forget to report to your state avian records committee if your bird is that level of rarity.)
There is really quite an amazing story here, so lets try to document all of it, please.
Tom Robben

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Marshall Iliff <>
Date: Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 5:30 PM
Subject: Fwd: Hurricane Irene redux on eBird
To:,, Steve Mirick <>,,, Thomas Robben <>, Andy Farnsworth <>, Bill Hubick <>, Ned Brinkley <>, Nathan Dias <>, spencer hardy <>

Would welcome cross-posts on this...we really have an opportunity to have all the storm watches in eBird if we act now...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Marshall Iliff <>
Date: Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 5:27 PM
Subject: Hurricane Irene redux on eBird
To: Massbird <>,


With news still coming in for reports from Hurricane Irene, I have posted a tentative summary of some of the news with visualizations from eBird etc. See the story here:
Hurricane Irene redux — eBird

We already have a couple hundred Sooty Tern sightings in eBird but there are many more that we still need to get in the system. Only about half of the tropicbirds are in, so the Delaware, upstate New York, New Hampshire, and one of the New York City sightings still need to be entered. Many Rhode Island and eastern Massachusetts finds are yet to be entered as well, and it would be great to be able to see a full picture for any species within the next week or so. So again, please encourage your friends who got out storm birding to help us compile all the sightings in one place.

We are very interested in using eBird to gain a better understanding of this storm, so we invite all birders who got out seeking storm-blown seabirds to please please PLEASE submit those sightings to eBird (whether or not you connected with anyrarities--the negative data is helpful too). We hope to be able to produce an animated summary of Sooty Tern sightings, showing the progression of the storm and where and when sooty Terns appeared. If we can get this together quick enough (it will depend on New England birders making sure all Sooty Tern sightings have been entered with correct times), then maybe the visualization will help us all make better storm birding plans for Hurricane Katia
Post-Tropical Cyclone KATIA

Thanks, and if anyone has questions about how to get their storm birding list into eBird, please get in touch with me directly.


Marshall Iliff

Marshall J. Iliff
miliff AT
West Roxbury, MA
eBird/AKN Project Leader
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Ithaca, NY